Dr. James "Pake" De Vries, 75, of Little Rock, went to heaven on April 7, 2019.
Jim was born in the Netherlands, emigrated by boat with his parents and seven siblings to the United States as a teenager, and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1961. His passion for helping others led him to join the Peace Corps where he served in East Africa. His time in Africa marked a turning point in his life.
It was there that he found a desire to help the world's poor and hungry. While serving, he met Judy Richardson, and they married in Kenya on August 16, 1969. Judy passed away in 2014. Jim earned his Ph.D. in continuing and vocational education from the University of Wisconsin. He was fluent in English, Dutch and Swahili; and read and understood German.
He joined Heifer International in 1982 as director of Africa/Near East Programs. In 1992, he was promoted to director of International Programs and would retire as Senior Vice-President. Jim directed programs around the world. He provided leadership and mentoring to the headquarters team as well as to Heifer's on-the-ground staff around the world, developing and managing more than 488 programs through 35 country offices. Jim's tireless efforts made the lives of thousands of people better.
Jim was an active member of St. Andrew's Church. After retirement, he served through the Missions Team and Grief Share mentoring. There he meet Suzanne Tank, and on January 7, 2017 they married.
Jim is survived by Suzanne, his three sons, and four grandchildren; Eric and wife Kristi, their children: Lauran and husband Jeremy, Tyler, and Emma; Christian and wife Sarah, and their son Alexander; and Timothy De Vries. He is also survived by, his brothers Charlie De Vries and Bill De Vries, and sisters Linda Blokeyl, Susan Henry, Ann Scholier, and Alberta Harris.
The memorial service will be at St. Andrew's Church, 8300 Kanis Rd., Little Rock, AR 72204, on Thursday, April 11th at 2 pm. Memorial gifts should be made to Heifer International Foundation.